If you're struggling to make sense of current marketing themes such as "a market of one," perhaps it's time to revisit these classics on how the game has changed:
The Great Marketing Turnaround, by Stan Rapp and Tom Collins (Plume, 1990, $12), is the book for entrepreneurs who dream of launching or growing a national brand but don't have millions to spend. The book chronicles the demise of mass marketing and the rise of a "dialogue with the consumer." It offers lots of tips, checklists, and real-world examples to help managers get close to the customer. The book has more of a consumer-goods angle, but many of the ideas explored -- such as measuring customers' lifetime value -- also apply to business-to-business settings.
The Marketing Imagination, by Theodore Levitt (Free Press, 1986, $14.95), presents the thinking behind many of today's "hot" marketing concepts. There's good advice for business-to-business marketers in chapters headed "Differentiation -- of Anything" and "Marketing Intangible Products and Product Intangibles." Although Levitt can be long-winded, his text should offer inspiration to managers working to break out of commodity markets.* * *